NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police have charged the mother of a 7-year-old boy who police said brought a gun to school in his backpack Thursday in Queens.
Deborah Farley, 53, was arrested Friday on criminal possession of a weapon, endangering the welfare of a child and other charges.
It all started Wednesday night when Farley told police she put the handgun, ammunition and a flare gun in her son’s backpack but forgot to take them out before the boy left for school Thursday morning, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.
The Queens District Attorney said that according to the criminal complaint, Farley went to the principal’s office at Wave Preparatory Elementary School between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Thursday, claiming she wanted to pick up her son for a dental appointment.
Not being able to find the gun inside her son’s bag, she asked the 7-year-old where it was, Browne said. Thinking she was referring to the flare gun, Browne said her son told her he had given it to a friend not knowing there was also handgun in his bag.
That’s when Farley alerted the principal who called police.
The school was locked down and the backpack was searched. Browne said a Phoenix Arms .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a magazine with 10 rounds of ammunition and 14 additional rounds in a plastic bag were found in the boy’s backpack.
The unloaded flare gun was found in another boy’s bag, police said.
No one was hurt.
The criminal complaint also alleges that Farley told police she purchased the .22-caliber pistol in June or July for protection because “when she came home there were people hanging around in the stairwell,” according to the Queens DA’s office.
Farley also told police “she had left her apartment the night before she had put the .22-caliber gun in her son’s school bag, along with the flare gun, which had been in the house for a while and which she knew to be unloaded because her kids had played with it in the past,” according to a release from the Queens DA’s office.
Initially, police said Farley, a mother of four, told them her 9-year-old son said he saw his younger brother take the gun to school. She later changed her story after detectives revealed information that she was keeping an unlicensed handgun in the house, Browne said.
While searching her home, investigators found four rounds of .22-caliber ammunition in a cardboard box in a bedroom in one apartment and seven small bags of marijuana from bedrooms in a second apartment, according to the Queens DA’s office.
Farley also is facing charges of unlawful possession of marijuana in connection with the drugs that were found.
Her two youngest children, the 7- and 9-year-old, were removed from the home and placed into protective child services, Browne said. Her two older children are both adults.
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